End the Death Penalty Now

[Content Note: Death penalty; torture.]

As you may recall, in January, Ohio death row inmate Dennis McGuire was executed using "a new cocktail of drugs that took nearly a half hour to kill the gasping McGuire." The new drugs were used because pentobarbital, which has long been used in lethal injection executions, is no longer available as manufacturers now refuse to sell it for that purpose.

States continue to search for new alternatives, despite the fact that eradicating executions is the best alternative. And searching for new alternatives means using death row inmates as guinea pigs during executions, even if that means torturing them until they're dead.

Yesterday, in Oklahoma, it happened again:
The state of Oklahoma botched one execution and was forced to call off another on Tuesday when a disputed cocktail of drugs failed to kill a condemned prisoner who was left writhing on the gurney.

After the failure of a 20-minute attempt to execute him, Clayton Lockett was left to die of a heart attack in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma state penitentiary in McAlester. A lawyer said Lockett had effectively been "tortured to death".

For three minutes after the first drugs were delivered Lockett struggled violently, groaned and writhed, lifting his shoulders and head from the gurney.

Some 16 minutes after the execution began, and without Lockett being declared dead, the blinds separating the chamber from the viewing room were closed. The process was called off shortly afterwards. Lockett died 43 minutes after the first executions drugs were adminsitered.

The execution of Charles Warner, scheduled for 8pm local time, was then postponed. Both were due to have been carried out with a drug cocktail using dosages never before tried in American executions.
Neither McGuire nor Lockett—nor Warner, who's been spared the same fate, at least temporarily—are good men. They are men who did horrible things. (Unless they are among the 4% of wrongly convicted inmates sitting on death row.) And there are people who argue it doesn't matter if men who did horrible things die horrible deaths.

But if we are really conceding that we don't care if we're any better than them, we are truly lost.

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